Rajar Chithi : A Playwright’s Note

Rabindranath Tagore in Berkeley CaliforniaAbout a year and half ago, when I was researching on Rabindranath Tagore’s visits to the USA, an incident caught my attention. It said, that apparently there was an assassination attempt on Rabindranath by some Indians during his visit to San Francisco in October of 1916. This piece of information shocked me to say the least and I started to dig into the matter further. I looked into several books on Tagore by well regarded scholars and slowly an image started to take shape. I’ll refrain myself from getting into the details of the various accounts published in several books (you may look for them in the attached bibliography), but just to put matters in context I’ll quote some references: Continue reading

“Ekti Gnaye Thaki” : A Preview

Simanti Dasgupta

ektignaye_norm Many of us will intuitively link the title of the play to Rabindranath Tagore’s well know poem, “Ek Gnaye” and correctly so. Sambhu Mitra and Tripti Mitra particularly immortalized the poem in their rendition of it in Bidhayak Bhattacharya’s celebrated radio play, “Tahar Naamti Ranjana”. “Ekti Gnaye Thaki”, written and directed by Sudipta Bhawmik, is the story of a sister, Ranjana and her brother, Rajat, reuniting after fourteen years. Rajat immigrates to the US with his family after Ranjana sponsors their green cards. The reunion is marked by its usual excitement followed by nostalgia for their “gnya” they left both behind. Rajat becomes a critical link for Ranjana to relive her past, while Ranjana helps him come to terms with his decision to abandon his familiar world in Gobindapur. Ranjana is also ill and Rajat’s presence offers a long-awaited emollient. As the brother and the sister often slip into the past, the rest of the characters are excited at the prospects of their future in the US, especially Rajat’s son, Rajib.

Continue reading

Durga Puja and Cultural Events: The 2009 New Jersey Lineup

Ujjaini MukherjeeIn New Jersey, Durga Puja is a special time when the festive mood brings with it a flurry of entertainment and cultural programs across the state. This year too the line up looks very promising although the spirits have dampened a bit due to the tough economic times and with the rejection of visas of few of the performers.  Still the combination of local talents and professionals from India is bound to enthrall the Puja attendees on the coming weekends.

I’ll try to briefly summarize the lineup this year, although the organizers have in many cases conveniently omitted the details about the local performers from their web sites. I tried to collect as much information I could manage. If any of you have more information, then please feel free to add them to this post as comments. Continue reading

Bannya Concert in New York

A unique concert of Tagore songs with the accompaniment of Indian and Western musical instruments is planned for Saturday, July the 18th, 2009, at 6-30 P.M. at the fabulous sanctuary of the futuristic Saint Peters Church in the heart of New York City at 619 Lexington Avenue (corner of 54th Street), New York City. Rezwana Choudhury Bannya, the famed Tagore singer, will be the solo vocalist. Among the instruments will be Piano, Violin, Saxophone, Harp, Cello, Veena, Sitar, Flute, Tabla, Mandira etc. The musicians who will play these instruments are all accomplished artistes in their respective areas. This is the first time that such a concert is being offered where so many Western instruments will be played with Tagore songs (or any other Bengali song genre, for that matter) at the same session. As planned, Ms. Bannya will sing an average of two songs with each instrument individually. At the end, two or more songs are expected to be offered with all the  instruments playing together.

Suggested donations for the concert has been set at $100, $50 and $25, to defray the costs for the concert. Guests are requested to arrive on time and take their seats by 6-30 pm so that the session may start on time. The entrance is through the 54th Street south side doors, less than 50 feet from Lexington Avenue while walking towards Third Avenue. Discount parking is available at Metropolitan 51 Parking, 569 Lexington Avenue, south side of 51st Street, between Lexington and 3rd Avenue ($15 for upto five hours).. For getting the discount, the tickets have to be endorsed by a seal at the reception desk at the church entrance.

Those interested to attend the concert and collect tickets are requested to ontact: 347-570-7787, 917-770-0146, 718-414-9743 or send email at following adresses:
email: smullah41@yahoo.comsarwarharun@gmail.com

Rabindranath – Universe and Beyond, 2009

 

Over MAY 15, 16 & 17, IIPA, New Jersey will be celebrating “Rabindranath – Universe and Beyond, 2009″ at The Community Presbyterian Church of Sand Hill, South Brunswick, New Jersey.The three-day celebration is an attempt to expand the boundaries of appreciation of Tagore’s literary and musical works through a variety of presentations:

Friday, MAY 15 - Screening of Movie “Teen Konya.” 
Saturday, MAY 16 - Interactive talks with audio visual illustrations. 
Topics: Rabindranath’s Poetic Vision: A Synthesis of Arts & Sciences; Rabindranath in Translation; Disconnected Genius: Rabindranath, Dwarakanath; and Rabindranath & Folk Culture.

Sunday, MAY 17 - Rabindra Sangeet Soiree.

Tickets and Details: Please contact any of the following persons: 
Hirak Guha:(732) 821-8719, Subhodev Das:(609) 924-6709, Surya Dutta: (732) 422-0599, Dhriti Bagchi: (732) 577-9575, Jhum Basu:(732) 817-0264, Sushmita Dutta:732-658-1643, Priyoranjan Das: (732) 274-9654, Krishna Bhattacharya: (732) 536-6325, Narayan Ray:(908) 561-9766, and Zafar Billah:(732) 951-9962.

Rabindrasangeet Concert


It is our great pleasure to have The Famous Rabindra Sangeet Artist Pramita Mallick with us. We are organizing a Sangeet Anushthan for her honor on 20th of july (Sunday) at 5:30 pm. Please come and enjoy the evening with us.

Venue: 112 Monroe Ave, Edison, NJ 08820 (Sharmila & Sandip’s house )

Time: 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
There will be no ticket for this Anushthan but your willing contribution for the artist will be appreciated.

Please call me if you need anymore information and forward this mail to your friends who are interested.

My phone # 908-4228-6650(home) 908-787-6590 (cell)

Email id dastandra@yahoo.com or tandra1975@yahoo.com

A New Translation of Tagore’s “Rakta Karabi” – The Red Oleanders


Red Oleanders“Rakta Karabi” by Rabindranath Tagore has been considered by many pundits as one of the pillars of modern Bengali drama. The universal appeal of the play needed to transcend beyond the confines of the limited Bengali speaking populace and Tagore himself took upon the task of translating the play to English and gave it the title of “Red Oleanders”. Unfortunately, not too many productions of this wonderful play happened in the western world. One conjecture has been that Tagore’s language, in his translated works, failed to withstand the test of time as the English language evolved over the ages. Continue reading